An outcome study of thumb reconstruction using microvascular toe transfer

K C Chung, F C Wei
Journal of Hand Surgery 2000, 25 (4): 651-8
The purpose of this study was to evaluate outcomes following microvascular toe to thumb transfer in a cohort study using the Michigan Hand Outcomes Questionnaire, the 36-item Short-Form Health Survey, the Lower Limb Function Questionnaire, and standardized hand function tests. Twenty-one patients who had unilateral, isolated thumb amputations at the metacarpophalangeal joints were studied: 16 patients had toe transfer and 5 patients did not have reconstruction. The mean follow-up period was 7.2 years (range, 3-13 years). Toe transfer patients showed statistically significantly better overall hand function (effect size = 1.4), ADL (effect size = 3.4), work performance (effect size = 2.1), aesthetics (effect size = 1.9), and satisfaction (effect size = 1.1). Functional testing showed that strength and dexterity of the toe transfer hands were comparable to the opposite normal hands. Foot donor site morbidity was minimal. No significant difference was found in the mean Lower Limb Function Questionnaire scores between the toe transfer patients (1.4) and the amputation patients who did not undergo reconstruction (1.6). The results of our study showed that patients with toe transfer have better hand function than patients with thumb amputations at the level of the metacarpophalangeal joints.

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